Airbnb is calling on the Scottish Parliament’s Local Government and Communities Committee to challenge the disproportionate regulations proposed by the Scottish Government and avoid passing new rules that risk creating barriers to home sharing and harming Scotland’s tourism recovery.
Airbnb shared its evidence with the Committee today as it scrutinises new rules proposed by the Scottish Government that could mean hosts would need to pay hundreds of pounds for a license and spend months applying, regardless of whether they are occasional hosts looking to generate some extra income, or professionals who rent out properties online as a business. The current proposals would also mean that Scotland could have one of the most restrictive regulatory systems on short-term lets anywhere in the world.
Airbnb has sought to work constructively with stakeholders in Scotland over the years to introduce sensible regulation for short-term lets that recognise the way people live, work and travel today. Airbnb has called for a balanced way forward that regulates short-term lets while protecting livelihoods and prioritising the needs of local families who need the additional income most.
Patrick Robinson, Director of Public Policy at Airbnb, said, “Airbnb has long supported calls for sensible regulation in Scotland but the proposals from the Government risk hurting ordinary families and home sharers that rely on their income to help make ends meet. We’re calling on the Committee to back a balanced way forward that means home sharers can continue to be the beating heart of Scottish tourism and are not prevented from doing so by red tape.”
The call from Airbnb comes as independent polling conducted by ORB International for Airbnb found that 91% of Scots feel that tourism will be central to Scotland’s recovery from the pandemic, and 67% called on the Government to focus on policies that will boost tourism in the wake of the pandemic.
The research found that 72% of Scots say the Scottish Government should pause any new regulations that would hurt the economy or tourism sector until the pandemic is over and the state of the economy is clearer.
A separate study conducted by BiGGAR Economics at the end of 2020 found Airbnb guest spending and Airbnb host income supports 33,500 jobs. According to BiGGAR’s findings, this legislation puts almost 17,000 jobs at risk: this would be equivalent to increasing the unemployment rate by 0.6% (from 4.5% to 5.1%).
Over half of voters polled (53%) called on the Government not to go ahead with its new regulation of short-term lets and said that ministers should delay until coronavirus is under control and Scotland’s economy is stable.
The poll also found that 53% of Scots say that the short-term letting industry will be important in encouraging visitors back to Scotland once the pandemic is stabilised and the country begins to return to normal, with just 11% disagreeing.
You can view Airbnb’s submission to the Local Government and Communities Committee here.
ORB International conducted an online poll of n=1210 respondents in Scotland between 20th and 30th November 2020. A sample of this size has a margin of error of +/- 2.8% at a 95% confidence level. Data was weighted where required to ensure it was representative of the adult population of Scotland. Data tables can be found at www.orb-international.com
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